Managing mobile diversity in e-commerce

The verdict on level of e-commerce adoption in Malaysia is up in the air, at the moment. A huge number of players have entered the market, with a few like 11street doing extremely well. On the other hand, established Japanese e-commerce player, Rakuten, has closed its operations in Malaysia.

This doesn’t stop content delivery network (CDN) specialist, Akamai from still seeing opportunity and acting upon it. Akamai’s Product Marketing Manager in APJ, Varun Jaitly said, “Opportunity in Malaysia is still tremendous as currently 5.4-percent of the GDP contribution comes from e-commerce.”

This is despite there being less than 0.2-percent of businesses and less than 10-percent of SMEs actively using e-commerce today.

Mobility, of course

He also noted mobile as still being the biggest trend when it comes to the electronic commerce industry. “Mobile in leading the way. For India specifically, mobile usage became significantly bigger and overtook desktops, two years ago.

“In Malaysia, first time users of the Internet are on mobile. It plays into the impulse buying push towards online shopping, and gives greater flexibility as well.”

Varun also highlighted an oft-common question plaguing e-commerce players’ minds when it comes to selling their wares over the mobile medium. “How can vendors streamline user experience regardless of the device or network conditions?”

In Malaysia this is especially pertinent as Varun sees the rapid growth of mobile driving e-commerce boom across Southeast Asia.

He explained, “The region expects to have 350 million online shoppers in two years and rank as the world’s third biggest digital marketplace after China and India. Of this, more than 50-percent of Web traffic is through mobile devices, the favoured channel for online shopping among Southeast Asians.”

Managing (mobile) diversity

E-commerce players are facing opportunities and challenges from consumers’ mobile usage.  Their top priority is to ensure that their visitors’ user experience of their website or app, is no less than great.

Varun described, “In 2015, what we saw on our platform (of over 2000 servers around the globe) was close to 180,000 different types of Android devices. This means if I was an e-commerce player, ideally I should have a website or app that works perfectly well for all these devices.

“If I had to manually engineer this solution, it would take immense work and I would have to update every three to six months.”

Responsive web design whereby websites can dynamically change according to device, is the best practice to overcome this huge issue, currently.

Varun shared how their image management solution helps e-commerce, by easily converting raw image into eight different derivative assets formats, for example. “It is not a difficult problem, but it requires a lot of work.”

A network adaptive image compression feature which is part of their overall suite of Web performance solutions called Ion, also helps players, by understanding what network conditions the end user has, and based upon this information send the right quality image.

Overall, Akamai’s suite of Web performance solutions aim to deliver the best possible experience for mobile or Web transactions, by taking into account the type of network and device being used.

“Akamai can make the website adapt in a way that it works fast enough on (any) network as well,” explained Varun.

He concluded that from Web performance standpoint, Akamai has quite a few organisations using their solutions in e-commerce and other sectors like enterprises and financial services.





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